Lady Tigers glad to make regionals
HUNTSVILLE — There were not many things that went Red Bay’s way this season when it came to softball.
The Lady Tigers had to contend with injury and illness, and the 2013 season was not what the coaches and players thought and hoped it would be.
Despite only managing a handful of wins this year, the Lady Tigers made it to the 2013 North Regional Tournament in Huntsville.
Much like the rest of the season, play was plagued by inclement weather.
The rain fell for hours Friday morning, pushing back Red Bay’s expected game one starting time against the Hatton Lady Hornets from 8 a.m. to around 1:30 p.m.
The girls had nothing to do for several hours but wait for the rain to subside and the field to dry out enough to start play.
The delay also gave the girls time to reflect on the year and what making the regional tournament meant to them.
Two seniors with different experiences on the year were Audrey Goss and Alaina Hester.
Goss had a solid year as botyh a center fielder and a hitter.
She averaged over .400 in the batter’s box and helped lead her team to the regional tournament.
“I love to play softball,” she said. “I eat, breathe and sleep it. I have been playing for six years. I love the speed of the game. It’s fun to play, and there’s always a lot of action going on. It’s exciting being here. I’m really glad we made it this far.
“At the beginning of the season I never would have thought we would make it this far, but I’m really glad we did. We played together as a team in the area tournament to make it here.”
Hester, on the other hand, did not have the kind of year she expected.
She tore her ACL during a basketball game in January and was forced to sit out the entire season.
“It was terrible,” she said.
“I was looking forward to this year because I figured we would be pretty good.
“After I got hurt some of the other girls did too, and at one point we barely had enough girls to make a team.”
Even with the injury, Hester still helped her team any way she could.
“I go to every game and practice to support them,” she said. “I’m going to Wallace to manage the girls basketball team, and when my knee heals I’m going to try out for the softball team.”
Another senior, shortstop Kellie Ballard, was also excited about being at the regional tournament.
“It feels pretty good,” she said. “I didn’t think we would make it this far. We came back and played our hardest in the area tournament, and I’m proud to be here.
“I’m proud of how hard our team worked. It’s my senior year and my last time playing, so I’m pretty excited.”
Junior pitcher Monique Dulaney also spoke of her time at regionals highly.
“It’s pretty awesome, especially after the year we have had,” she said. “We pushed through and worked hard during the area tournament.”
Red Bay fell to Hatton 13-0 and Gaston 7-6 at the tournament, but the Red Bay Lady Tigers enjoyed the experience despite the losses and the rain.